There are times when the following scenario happens:

  1. Newb asks a question.
  2. Newb gets an answer from Guru.
  3. Newb adds "Thanks" as a comment.
  4. Newb moves on with his/her life.

It would be nice if a moderator could manually Accept this answer, especially in those cases where the OP used SO once or twice, and the OP hasn't been back in months or even years. In other words, the Guru who correctly answered the question should eventually receive credit for correctly answering the question, especially when the OP says, "Thanks!".

Here is an example question/answer (see link). The OP says, "It works like a charm, thanks alot!!", but they don't accept the answer; probably because the OP was unfamiliar w/ SO. But, that comment was added nearly 2-and-a-half years ago. The user who answered this question will never receive the proper recognition for this.

Keep in mind that I didn't answer this question, so it makes no difference to me. It just seems that the question is clearly resolved, and it should be marked as such.

Here is another perfect example.

Edit: I'm wondering why this similar question has 81 upvotes, but mine got down-voted into oblivion. Bandwagon voters I suppose.

  • 1
    Glad Newb was helped, but its the future visitors that need to be helped too. The accepted answer mark is nice and all, but not really necessary for the site to operate. – Martijn Pieters May 1 '13 at 16:37
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    No, acceptance of an answer is up to the OP only. For all others there are upvotes. – Bart May 1 '13 at 16:37
  • 3
    @Bart - your answer begs the question. Maybe the checkmark shouldn't be up to the OP alone. Not that I think this particular proposal is a good idea, but in general this is a bit of a problem. – Adam Rackis May 1 '13 at 16:37
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    Accepting is purely up to the questioner. But even so, trying to automate this based on a comment 1) won't work well 2) encourages/rewards the posting of noise (though very subtly) – Andrew Barber May 1 '13 at 16:38
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    @AdamRackis I don't see how it begs that question. Acceptance indicates correctness or helpfulness to the OP. Upvotes do their job just fine for all others. This is more of a psychological issue for users who enjoy having their answers accepted (which is absolutely understandable), than that there is a need for it. – Bart May 1 '13 at 16:39
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    What do you do if the OP gets multiple answers and says thanks to all of them? With your proposal what gets accepted? – Taryn May 1 '13 at 16:43
  • We can argue about the scalability/automation of such a policy, but it's hard (even nonsensical) to argue that this particular question shouldn't be resolved by a moderator. And where there is one, there are others... – WEFX May 1 '13 at 16:47
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    @Bart - yes, the checkmark is to indicate that the answer solved the users problem. But many times an OP doesn't understand this, or just doesn't care. I don't think this is a problem that can ever be automatically solved intelligently, but neither do I in principle think that accepting an answer should only ever be done by the OP. – Adam Rackis May 1 '13 at 16:49
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    It's easy to argue that question should not have an answer accepted by a mod; it's up to the OP. Otherwise, I don't think "resolved" means what you think it means, at least not here. – Andrew Barber May 1 '13 at 16:50
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    I'd like it to be possible for a mod to accept an answer in the case that the OP has clearly indicated it solved their problem but left the site without accepting it, but like @Bart said, I can't see them ever implementing it – Michael Mrozek May 1 '13 at 18:49
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    Why are newbs so obsessed with forcing people to accept answers? – user229044 May 1 '13 at 18:53
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    @meagar It's not "forcing people to accept answers", it's marking an answer as accepted if the OP said it's right but didn't know they were supposed to click the checkmark, which happens all the time – Michael Mrozek May 1 '13 at 18:59
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    @meagar Because sometimes we give awesome answers to questions we know, but the OP doesn't accept them (despite it solving their problems). Then we're stuck with terrible rep and can't even do basic things like comment on other people's Q/A to provide helpful info. There are only so many answerable questions that aren't duplicates left for latecomer newbs like us, and when they're not accepted it can be frustrating. – Corion Jun 20 '13 at 22:30
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    @meagar I realize that, but having certain amounts of rep is necessary to contributing to the goals of this site. It's easy to say it's not important after you've got thousands, but it's absolutely critical to being able to contribute meaningfully when you're first starting out. A single accepted answer can make a huge difference in privileges that may be required to even just properly curate the questions you yourself ask. However, I do understand the need to keep out unhelpful rabble. Just trying to remind you what it's like to be a newb. – Corion Jun 21 '13 at 18:24
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    For any other newbs wondering, the linking two accounts @meagar is referring to only works if you have a different SE account with over 200 rep. – Corion Jun 21 '13 at 18:43

A moderator's job is not to accept answers. You would also need a moderator be specialized in a tag or series of tags to know that answer is correct, other than blindly guessing that a "thanks" comment means that answer is correct.

You can always leave a comment for the OP letting them know that they can accept your answer and how to do it.

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    This comment should suffice then. Thanks – WEFX May 1 '13 at 21:14
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    @WEFX If my answer helped to solve your problem, please consider marking it as accepted. That's the customary way of indicating that your question is "resolved" and thanking the person who helped you. – Kermit May 1 '13 at 23:47

As a Stack Overflow moderator, this is not a responsibility that I want, nor is it a feature that I think Stack Overflow needs. I don't think anyone is confused by six upvotes and a comment that says "It works like a charm, thanks alot!!" A moderator isn't needed to step in here and let everyone know that that answer is correct. Since the community already has the right tool (upvoting) to deal with this situation, it's not an exceptional case that warrants flagging for moderator attention.

  • 1
    Thanks! (no need to accept this answer apparently) – WEFX May 1 '13 at 21:14

I agree that this is very frustrating. Other websites, like TekTips and AllExperts, do eventually require you to accept an answer so their pages aren't full of questions that have no known solutions. I would think that SO would WANT all the questions on the site to eventually have an accepted answer, as that is what would benefit future users the most.

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